Credit Agricole worked on its first sovereign, supranational and agency (SSA) green bond in 2013, a year that saw the bank top the league table for green bond underwriters.
At the time SSAs dominated the market, says Pierre Blandin, head of SSA debt capital markets at Credit Agricole, which meant that bank tended to issue mostly SSA green bonds.
"The market is still driven by SSAs, although it's been great to see other sectors begin to issue," says Blandin. "We have been involved in 12 SSA green bonds over the course of 2016 and what is striking is the breadth of types of issuers."
The bank's 2016 SSA deal highlights include Kommuninvest's inaugural green bond and Asian Development Bank's first benchmark-sized green bond.
By the end of 2016, the bank had lead-managed an overall total of nearly $10 billion of SSA green bonds, across 43 transactions.
Part of the reason for Credit Agricole's success in the SSA space is the work the bank has done as an executive committee member of industry-led voluntary guidelines, the Green Bond Principles, defining best practice in the sector.
This work is reflected in the many SSA bonds the bank has structured, says Tanguy Claquin, head of sustainable banking at Credit Agricole.
"I think that we have been quite active in increasing the level of transparency, reporting and structures that investors have been looking for," he says. "We have managed to convince issuers to adopt best practice and to commit to measuring the social and environmental impact of their projects."
The work structuring SSA bonds helped the bank be selected as the sole green structuring agent for the 7 billion French sovereign green bond issued this year.